Saturday, September 06, 2008

For the Love of Gloria Steinem, Give Sarah Palin a Break

I’m thinking of writing a book called “Everything I Need to Know about Politics I learned from Rage Against the Machine.” However, for now I’d simply like to ask, for the sake of women’s political progress, can we try a little harder to support successful, high achieving women even when they’re republicans? Can we refrain from reducing a hard working, remarkable woman to a breast pump joke? It seems nearly a hundred years after women won the long-term battle for the right to vote in this country, no we can’t.

It's no secret that I'm no fan of Obama. If I didn't know a lot of great people, who I respect, both read this blog and love Obama I would phrase it differently. Something like, it's lonely out here with all of the working class, uneducated, racist losers like me who don't have our collective heads up Obama's ass -- but I won't say it that way, because you know I love you all even if you love Obama – I’m easy to get along with that way.

It’s not that I think Obama is any worse than anybody else, I just don’t think he’s any better and I’m sick of hearing that he is. I believe in God, I believe in miracles, I even believe in magic for goodness sake, but I do not believe in politicians. I’m sorry if that makes me a bad person.

It’s also no secret that I’m a disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporter. I wouldn’t say I “believed in” Hillary either, but I believed in her ability to affect policy in Washington in a manner that most closely reflects my values – I don’t have the same confidence in Obama. During the primaries a woman wrote that she hated Hillary Clinton, because she said, when we finally get a woman in the white house she doesn’t want one like Hillary who had to lie to get there. And I wondered, how does she suppose all the men in the white house have gotten there? Clinton is a politician, appeasing the greatest number of people is what politicians do. What are women to do, stay at home baking cookies and leave all that icky lying and stuff to the men folk?

Sarah Palin is to suffer the same fate as Hillary Clinton. She is not a pit bull with lipstick. She is a hard working successful woman with unapologetic conviction and a gift for public speaking. Her convictions are certainly not mine, but do we need to resort to sexist slurs to criticize her on that point?

Speaking of double standards, are all of the people who are making fun of her because she hunts 100% members-in-good-standing of PETA? Let’s be careful here when we question whether she's capable of doing her job given that she's a mom, she rocks stilettos, and she can kill a moose. I mean for Christ sake, Dick Cheney hunts, did everyone make a big hoopla about it? (aside from the time he shot some guy) And wasn’t it John Kerry who had to pretend to hunt real quick right before the 2004 election so as to not be entirely emasculated by W? Or was it to pander to some of those backwards gun-owners at the last minute? I can’t really remember – my brain protests when I try to go back to 04.

Oh the double standards abound – it is further insulting the way that Palin is portrayed as some kind of bimbo. She is at least as qualified to be president as Obama - - he has NO executive experience whatsoever. She has been a Mayor of a town and a governor of a state - - the next logical step is leader of the country. It was good enough experience for Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton and it's good enough for her, even if she’s pretty and even if she’s a right wing nut. Don't get me wrong, I would not like to see her in the white house, but that doesn't mean she's incapable of running the white house – an important distinction indeed.

As Kim Gandy said in a column recently, (paraphrasing) the question is not whether Sarah Palin is a woman of noteworthy accomplishment in her own right. The question is, what is Palin going to do for other women? Is she going to support policies that help the rest of us achieve pay equity? Policies that help us provide quality nutrition, education and health care for our children? Policies that help us protect the environment for our current quality of life and that of our children’s children? Policies that reflect a strong commitment to the recognition and protection of inherent human dignity?

She comes up short for me in all of those regards, and it is my hope that people will join with me in vowing to judge her on those issues alone and refraining from resorting to sexism just because she’s a woman with whom we don’t agree.


OmegaMom said...

I agree with you almost all the way, except that her experience is really pretty slim. Also, the "pitbull with lipstick" is a play on her joke in her acceptance speech ("The difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull? Lipstick!").

But, yeah, the nasty sexism that's reared its head is gross. There's plenty for run-of-the-mill dems to attack without attacking her womanhood, her parenting practices, etc. (I must note that these types of attacks are coming from non-campaigners and bloggers and pundits, but not from the Obama campaign.) Hell, they screech that she brought her "newborn" to the convention (the "newborn" is six months old), but they would have screeched if she didn't bring him, too.

Oh, well; it's certainly made things interesting.

BTW, please vote for Obama, even ifyou're not a fan! ;-)

Anjali said...

Bravo with this post, Staci. And while I do plan on voting for Obama, I do not have the crush on him that other supporters voting for him do. (I was also a Clinton supporter.)

And the sexism with Palin disgusts me as much as the sexism with Clinton did. Palin is unqualified, in my opinion, for a host of reasons, none of which have to do with her new baby, her looks, or her pregnant daughter.

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PunditMom said...

Hear, hear! Except, I think she refers to herself as a pitbull w/ lipstick! ;)

Staci Schoff said...

Oh my bad on the pitbull thing -- but I wish she wouldn't disparage herself in that manner either.


Maybe people are raising the issue of her being a hunter because she is on record saying that she's as pro-life as a candidate can be, and killing animals for fun doesn't necessarily fall into everyone's definition of "pro-life".

Kimberly said...

This is a really excellent post.

I don't care about her family choices, hobbies or experience. She/McCain are not getting my vote for all the reasons you stated in your second-to-last paragraph.